BACKGROUND: Concerns have been expressed about inadequate mental health content in generic pre-registration nursing curricula in Australia. These have led to claims new graduates are inadequately prepared to care for patients with mental health issues. The Mental Health Nurse Education Taskforce set up for the purpose of the project by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council, carried out a national exploration of mental health content in pre-registration nursing curricula in order to develop a framework for including mental health in future pre-registration courses. This paper summarises the Taskforce's report, and presents a critical commentary on several aspects, of the Taskforce's report. METHODS: The project comprised a literature review, a national survey, national consultations, and advice from an Expert Reference Group. RESULTS: The report sets out a framework, which included the core values underpinning learning and teaching, learning outcomes, learning and teaching principles, and benchmarks for inclusion of mental health content in curricula. It recommended that a national approach needed to be taken to accreditation of curricula. This, together with greater collaboration between universities and clinical agencies, and the adoption of innovative strategies to secure clinical places, will help ensure a consistent adoption of the framework in each state and territory.